YORK City boss Sam Collins insists his team are capable of beating National League North’s leading sides ahead of this weekend’s home clash with third-placed Bradford Park Avenue.

The Minstermen have failed to score against any of the division’s current top-seven clubs this term and have taken just one point from a possible 12, with a 0-0 draw against Brackley the only exception to losses against Chorley (0-1), Kidderminster (0-3) and Spennymoor (0-3).

Defeat on Tuesday night to Spennymoor saw City drop into the bottom half of the table and fall five points adrift of the play-off places but, ahead of the derby clash with in-form Park Avenue, Collins maintained: “The players are more than capable of beating these teams, but it’s alright saying that – we’ve got to go out and produce that on the pitch.

“We played Guiseley a few weeks back and beat them when they’d gone nine games without losing. We were also told we couldn’t score without Jon Parkin being on the pitch before then and these are all things you have to deal with and put right.

“At some stage, we have got to go and beat a team that are above us in the table and it’s up to me and the staff to work with the players to try and make that happen.”

But, with Bradford lying just three points behind league leaders Chorley, Collins knows his players must demonstrate the right attitude to buck this season’s trend against higher-placed opponents, pointing out: “They are full of energy and work really hard for their manager, so it won’t be an easy game at all.

“We will need to scrap, fight, dig in and hang on in there and, hopefully then, we’ll have enough quality to come out of the game with a good result. They have had a good start to the season and are right in the mix at this moment in time, so we’ve got to be mentally and physically ready for a tough game but, hopefully, we can turn things around on Saturday and set ourselves up for the FA Cup game after that.”

Simon Heslop remains doubtful for the match with a knee problem, while striker Jake Wright did not incur a one-match ban following his yellow card at Spennymoor.

The caution was the former Harrogate Town forward’s fifth of the campaign, but one was received in the FA Cup, which no longer count towards league tallies.